random film reviews

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Not the sort of thing I usually watch, but sort of slumming mass culture at the moment to catch up. Good, I guess, in terms of craft and delivery, but in general the content was… uninteresting, and a bit nasty, and there was nothing that would inspire me to seek out the sequels. Though something far more interesting must happen in the later books to explain their success.

Eclipse (2010)

Yeah. I went there. Observations:

It is sort of like bad TV. The familiarity grows on you. It is oddly comforting. The actors are growing into the roles. The dude playing Charley, the father, has resigned himself to being the best 2D light comic relief father he can be. Kristen Stewart is actually doing a fairly heroic job carrying things with consistently godawful dialogue and material to work with. Robert Pattinson doesn’t spend the entire movie being emotionally catatonic this time.

For the first time I get why the genre is paranormal romance. It really is all about the romance. Which, when you take away the vampires and werewolves and excessive stupidity, is why the narrative is barren and insipid. Unless you want a romance.

(If you don’t want a romance, you are once again left wondering why they don’t just ditch everything and make a movie about Alice, the cute kooky vampire with the heart of gold who sees the future.)

Oh, but this film had one actually good scene in it, the one in the tent where the two dudes talk over the sleeping object of their affections.

Perfect Blue (1998)

Anime maverick Satoshi Kon died recently, so I rewatched this, his first film, the first thing I saw by him. Still cool, still fairly incomprehensible in a linear narrative way. Paprika is probably a much better entry point to his work. Paranoia Agent is possibly the peak, that I’ve seen. Though it is all a bit intangible. Dude definitely had vision.

Intacto (2001)

Spanish film based on the premise that luck is sort of quantifiable and transferable, following a subculture that gambles luck and lives. Quite strange, almost interesting.

Prince of Thorn (2010)

Anime. Very pretty, quite weird. To avoid a plague that turns people to stone, people are selected to be cryogenically frozen in a castle; they wake to discover the castle covered in gigantic thorn vines and full of monsters, and try to figure out what is going on. There was a problem with the screening, which jammed, and they ended up skipping to the next chapter of the DVD, which didn’t help the comprehensibility, and probably jarred me out of any involvement with the narrative. Possibly the thing I noticed most was, afterwards, how deeply real the world was – rain on the street, a calm night – the film was at a pretty high level of realism, but operating at that level was still a massive drop in awareness, which the world rushed to fill in on leaving.

The Fall (2006)

*Really* enjoyed this, and strongly recommend it. Something that captured the “wonder” feel of fantasy really well. Knew nothing about it in advance other than noting its existence and enthusiastic recommendation by shocker a year or so back – I stopped reading after the first line of her review, since I generally prefer knowing as little as possible beyond it being worthy. And I am going to say nothing more, since being surprised by a film is a great charm, and the less you know, the more you will be surprised. Like, don’t even read the back of the DVD. Just track it down. You would have to be fundamentally broken not to like this movie.

Woodenhead (2004)

Narrative feature from NZ documentary maker Florian Habicht.


How weird?

Like Bela Tarr on speed directing a remake of Jodorowsky’s Fando y Lis. A third of the (admittedly, tiny) audience walked out.

Black and white, nominally a period film, it is more of an unhinged fairy tale without a moral than anything, with a storyteller voice over narrator, and almost all the character dialogue dubbed in over mute performances. By the time you get to the priest torturing the hero with a goat, it has pretty much lost it completely.

Parts drag, but on the whole, it is awesome that something so singular, demented and uncompromisingly visionary can get made locally.

2 Responses to “random film reviews”

  1.   Pearce
    September 23rd, 2010 | 4:19 pm

    I haven’t seen or read it, but people keep telling me that the movie of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo missed the whole point of the book. (Also that it was supposed to be called Men Who Hate Women, but the title was changed for English-speaking territories to make all the titles in the series line up.)

  2.   billy
    September 23rd, 2010 | 4:33 pm

    Both of those make sense.